Chicago’s former addicts help addicts recover

chicago recovery alliance harm reduction staff

By Anna Boisseau It’s nearly 12:30 p.m. when a rushed young man drops by the Chicago Recovery Alliance’s parked silver truck in West Garfield Park. He’s turned away for HIV testing, but told to come back next week, but just a bit earlier. The truck can’t be late for its next stop in Austin. If […]

Legislation Seeks to Double Food Stamps Buying Power at Farmers Markets

Farmer Kim Snyder at the Plant

By Anna Boisseau Farmers markets might seem like an unaffordable option for those on a limited food stamp budget, but that’s changing thanks to the double value coupon program. In most Chicago-based markets and some others across the state, food stamp recipients receive coupons to match up to $25 of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) […]

Growing Opportunities for Ex-Convicts in Urban Agriculture

Chicago Botanic Garden urban farm

By Anna Boisseau Antonio Henry only recently learned he likes lunchbox peppers. “They’re so sweet, you can just eat them straight,” he said of the multi-colored vegetables that he learned to grow last summer at a local urban farm. Henry is a former member of Windy City Harvest Corps, a 14-week program through the Chicago […]

Family Dinner Breaks Bread to Build Community

Family Dinner in River North Chicago

By Anna Boisseau One hundred and fifty mainly strangers gathered for Saturday night’s sold out “Family Dinner” at STK, a River North restaurant. The dinner, a biannual event in Chicago and 30 other cities worldwide, hopes to build community among African American professionals through sharing a meal together. “We want them to feel like they’re […]

Blessings in a Dance Marathon: Northwestern Students Raise Money for Food Insecurity

blessings in a backpack

By Anna Boisseau Northwestern University’s Dance Marathon traditionally raises money for a health-related charity, but this year it went down a slightly different path. On March 4th-6th, students will dance for 30 hours straight to support nonprofit Blessings in a Backpack’s fight against food insecurity. “It felt like it was time for a change,” said […]

When Food Stamps Fall Short, Local Pantries Step In

St. Ignatius Food Pantry

By Anna Boisseau The well-stocked food pantry at St. Ignatius Church saw few visitors on Wednesday at the start of January. According to volunteer Anita Goldstein that is because, as patrons can only visit once a month, they generally come towards the end once Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and paychecks have run out. […]

Students Cooking Competition Reimagines Healthy Menus in Chicago Schools

George Washington High School Students

By Anna Boisseau Public school students across Chicago had special choices on their lunch menu last Thursday: a Cajun chicken lettuce wrap, roasted corn relish, and peach and yogurt pizza, all invented by four peers in the culinary program at George Washington High School. The young chefs won the city-wide Cooking Up Change competition put […]

South Side Diabetes Project Changing Nutritional Norms

South Side Diabetes Project Grocery Store Tour

By Anna Boisseau Passersby at an Auburn Gresham Save-a-Lot sport a mixture of confusion and annoyance as they squeeze past the small gathering of 10, who are listening to Mary Lucy, a dietetic technician, speak about the appropriate daily portion size for servings of fruit. “Bananas have a lot of sugar, right?” asks Gregory Thompson, […]

Food Insecurity Screenings to Expand to Chicago Suburbs

FRESH Truck from Greater Chicago Food Depository

By Anna Boisseau Cook County will expand a pilot nutrition program into a second health clinic in the Chicago suburbs in early February. Doctors first began the process of questioning pediatric patients about their access to food at the Logan Square Health Center in September. After the success of the initial program, the Greater Chicago […]

New Ordinance Brings New Opportunities for Urban Agriculture

The Lurie Garden at MillenniumPark

By Anna Boisseau CHICAGO—As part of the Food Justice and Sustainability weekend, dozens of local environmentalists came out on a frigid Sunday to learn more about Chicago’s new composting ordinance. Set to go into effect this spring, the ordinance will give urban farms and community gardens the chance to improve their compost piles. Some will […]